Alysabeth Marquez started playing golf at the age of eight.
Now a sophomore at the prep level, Marquez will fill the top spot in the Ceres High School girls team’s lineup this season.
“She’s a great player,” said Ron Edwards, who was also Marquez’s head coach when she suited up for Ceres High’s boys team in the ninth grade. “She has a beautiful swing. She’s competitive. She loves the game.”
“It’s cool other people think that I’m good,” Marquez said. “I try not to let it get to my head. Being cocky has never been one of my traits.”
Marquez wanted to play girls golf at Ceres High her freshman year.
But the school didn’t field a team due to a lack of interest.
Marquez ended up playing in several matches for the boys team last spring.
She had the best overall score during Ceres High’s non-league match versus Orestimba.
The season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandmeic.
“I really enjoyed the experience,” she said. “It was interesting to see what the other schools thought. It was a bit of a challenge to fit in but it was cool.”
Marquez has become a leader on Ceres High School’s girls team.
She’s the Bulldogs’ lone returning player.
“I’ve gotten to help my teammates,” she said. “It’s cool to teach them how the game is.”
Bethanie Thornberry (Sr.), Jazymne Arendt (So.), Dominique Arendt (So.) and Isabella Turner (Fr.) are newcomers.
“I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls,” Edwards said. “I’d love to win. A successful season for this team would be to finish around .500. We don’t have a lot of experience.”
Members of the Western Athletic Conference South, Ceres High will play home and away matches against Central Valley, Johansen, Los Banos and Pacheco.
The Bulldogs will compete against WAC North member Mountain House twice.
There will be no league championship tournament.
“I’m just hoping to have fun, get good scores and help my team as best as I can,” Marquez said. “I think we’ll do pretty well for what we have. I’m the only one that’s played for a while.”
WAC coaches have yet to decide if all-conference accolades will be doled out.
Marquez could finish in the top three in the league’s individual standings.
Central Valley High School senior Amelia Daoheung won the Central California Conference MVP award during the 2019-20 school year.
“For me personally, when I have competition, it makes me try to do better,” Marquez said. “I don’t put too much pressure on myself to win. I go out there and have fun.”
“I know her (Marquez) through First Tee,” Daoheung said. “We’ve been in that same program for many years. We’ve received the same coaching. We have most of the same skills. She’s pretty good. It will be neck and neck between us.”
“I think Alysabeth can compete with her (Daoheung),” Edwards said. “I’ve told her that more than once.”
Marquez and her Bulldog teammates will not get a chance to battle for individual postseason berths this spring.
Playoffs were canceled in an effort to allow student-athletes as much time as possible to play some contests during the 2020-21 COVID-19 shortened season.
High school athletics have been put on hold since mid-March when the statewide shutdown began in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The girls golf season was moved to spring this school year due to the pandemic.
“It’s great to be back,” Marquez said. “We weren’t expecting this (COVID) to last a year. Not being able to talk to people every day was rough. I didn’t do too much during quarantine.”
Coronavirus safety requirements, including wearing face coverings and maintaining social distance, must be followed.
“It gets a little hard to breathe sometimes,” Marquez said. “But I’m pretty used to it. It’s fun to get out after having a full year of quarantine.”